As a classic film fan, and a collector, this was a good news/bad news sort of day.
First, the good news: Turner Classic Movies announced today that they’ll be partnering with Bonhams for a second auction of movie memorabilia on November 24 in New York City. TCM Presents…There’s No Place Like Hollywood will be headlined with iconic costumes from THE WIZARD OF OZ, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.
Now, the bad news: there’s going to be another TCM auction.
And here’s why that’s bad: I somehow managed to make it through four hours and more than 300 costumes, props, storyboards, posters, and pieces of covet-worthy ephemera at the first TCM Auction last November without even placing a single bid, let alone a winning one. Seriously, I had the paddle in my hand the whole time, and never even had the guts to raise it. This year I’m going to ask The Wizard for some courage (and maybe some cash) and come home with a piece of Hollywood history (just please don’t mention this to my accountant or my girlfriend.)
Considering the first auction, What Dreams Are Made of: A Century of Movie Magic, brought in just under $6 million (including winning bids and buyers’ premiums attached by Bonhams of up to 25 percent), it’s not surprising that both parties would want to produce a sequel. While the first installment appealed to high rollers – TCM says the $4,085,000 paid for the titular statuette from THE MALTESE FALCON set a new record for a movie prop – there were also plenty of more affordable items. To wit: a Preston Sturges signed contract from 1950 went for $375; a tunic worn by Hobart Cavanaugh in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (1935) sold for $437; and an original, hand-painted scene study from BEN-HUR (1959) went for $525. All told, nearly 40 items sold for under $1,000, which is an even more impressive percentage when you consider that 83 of the 309 items didn’t make their minimum bids and were not sold. (You can review the results here. A “W” indicates an item that was withdrawn.)
TCM displayed two of the costumes expected to be featured in this year’s auction at their recent Classic Film Festival in Hollywood: an iconic Dorothy “test” dress and pinafore and a winged monkey prototype cape, both designed by Adrian for THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). The Dorothy costume prototype is expected to sell for $200,ooo – $300,000. (An actual Dorothy costume inscribed with Judy Garland’s name sold for $485,00o at auction in 2012.) Other posted items include Barbara Streisand’s dress from THE WAY WE WERE (1973), producer Albert Zugsmith’s original script from Orson Welles’ film noir masterpiece TOUCH OF EVIL (1958), one of Jane Russell’s costumes from THE OUTLAW (1943), a portrait of silent film star Rudolph Valentino painted in 1925, and the costume Rita Hayworth wore while singing “Amado Mio” in GILDA (1946). TCM will once again donate a portion of the proceeds to The Film Foundation, the preservation organization founded by Martin Scorsese in 1990.
Bonham’s is accepting consignments for TCM Presents…There’s No Place Like Hollywood until August 15. The auction will take place on Monday, November 24 at 1 p.m. at the British auctioneer’s New York City showroom on Madison Avenue (you can participate on the Internet and by phone, as well). Even if you don’t plan to bid, I strongly suggest you make a pilgrimage to one of the daily previews (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) that begin on Thursday, November 20 and continue through Monday morning. This will likely be your only chance to stand in the presence of so many one-of-a-kind pieces of movie history – unless I win an item or two. Then I’ll be glad to let you come over to my place and have a look behind the curtain, for a small stipend, of course.
To whet your appetite, here’s my video of the moment of the historic sale of The Maltese Falcon from the first TCM Auction on November 25, 2013: